In the last few years, St. Petersburg has transformed itself into a vibrant city that revolves heavily around arts and culture. Through its promotion of the arts, AmericanStyle Magazine has named the city "America’s No. 1 Arts Destination" since 2010. Apart from being a prime spot for world-class museums such as Salvador Dali Museum, Morean Arts Center, and the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg has also become a haven for emerging and established local artists alike.

Street Art

Perhaps one of the first things that you'll notice about St. Petersburg is its obsession with street art. So much so that the city has even hosted various art-related events such as the highly successful Shine On St. Pete Mural Festival. The event, which has been held for two years in a row now, has brought together local and international artists excited to decorate various walls around the city with breathtaking murals for the public to enjoy for free.

Street Art Map

With all the street art everywhere, the city looks even more scenic and colorful now than ever before. Central Ave. alone has enough painted walls to indulge every art-loving pedestrian that strolls along its sidewalks. However, for those who want the excitement of exploring the city specifically for murals, Shine On St. Pete's website provides an interactive mobile device-friendly map that lists all of the murals featured in Shine On St. Pete Mural Festival.

Art District - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Bloom Arts Center

After picking out our favorites on the map, we hunted down each and every single one of our top picks. Our first stop was Bloom Art Center on 5th Ave. It looked abandoned when we arrived, but we simply couldn't resist sneaking in to look at the murals that covered the walls of the 7,000-square-foot warehouse. Home to many local artists, we discovered several unique gems around the property like this:

Big Mouth - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

and this:

Mad Hatter - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

A Surprise Find

While on our way to Central and 1st Ave. North where most of the murals are located, we stumbled upon this playful work by the Vitale Brothers called "Eye Candy," located on the sidewall of the Unitarian Universalist Church on Arlington Ave. N. Having made a name for themselves creating hand-painted signs and murals, they've also ventured into the movie industry doing creative work for several movies including Harmony Korine's controversial film Spring Breakers (shot in Tampa Bay in 2012).

Sponge Bob - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Space Rainbows

When we reached 1st Street, we found various murals on the back walls of different business establishments spanning about two blocks or so. The first mural we saw was Ricky Watts's kaleidoscopic work called "Space Rainbows". Painted on the sidewall of a big building adjacent to a parking lot, its sheer size and intense colors make it so hypnotizing.

Color Splash - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Twiggy Mural

From across the parking lot, a mural of Twiggy on a pastel-colored wall beckoned us to take a closer look. Created by local artist Chad Mize, the stenciled bedroom eyes of the 60s fashion icon effortlessly mesmerize anyone who gazes upon her.

Mr. Sun

Just next to the Twiggy wall is another work by Chad Mize along with fellow artist Nikolas Tekllas called Mr. Sun, a character originally developed by Griffin Advertising in the 1940s to promote the city of St. Petersburg. With all the recent growth of tourism in St. Petersburg, it's definitely nice to see Mr. Sun doing his part endorsing this wonderful city once again.

Sunny - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Jennifer Kirashek's Dolls

Not far from the Twiggy and Mr. Sun walls, we found Jennifer Korashek's whimsical creations frolicking behind Crislip Arcade. Kosharek's brightly colored characters and spellbinding spraypaint swirls can make it so easy for anyone to imagine living inside the world that she creates.

Doll - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Basking In Fame

Central Ave. has so many top-notch murals on display, but among the works on Central that captured our attention the most was Czech-born artist Ales "Bask" Hostomsky's work. Located on the side wall of Foolish Pride Tattoo Shop's old location, his work is composed of several panels in black/white and black/orange depicting various characters. His mural is so enormous, it grabs people's attention even from afar. An unmistakably talented artist, Bask's claim to fame is his work on the movie set of Iron Man 3--endorsed by none other than Robert Downey Jr.

Bask - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Art Lover's Paradise

St. Pete may be a small city, but it certainly exudes a lot of creativity. The city's ubiquitous urban art reflects its expressive culture, and if it's not an art lover's paradise already, it is definitely on its way to becoming one. We only got to cover a small section of the city for this particular blog post, but if you found the featured artworks interesting, we encourage you to explore the city yourself for its beautiful murals. You can also take the official walking mural tour with St. Pete Mural Tour on Saturday mornings from 10am to 11:30am to learn more about St. Pete's murals and the artists behind them.

Click this Shine On St. Pete map to view all featured murals and artists from Shine On St. Pete Mural Festival. Now go and start exploring!

Source: Shine On St. Pete

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